What does Accident mean?
A workers' compensation accident is any accident which occurs in the course of employment. Certain injuries are not covered, however, even if they occur at work. For instance, a worker who has an accident while drunk or fighting may not be covered if their state restricts coverage for injuries caused by an employees' own “willful misconduct.” Other injuries which may not be covered include intentional injuries, those suffered while committing a serious crime, and those which occurred while an employee is not on the job. Additionally, some states exclude injuries from accidents caused by a coworker's violent actions, although some states specifically cover these actions.
Historically, certain injuries such as those which occurred while a worker was engaged in recreational activities at work, such as playing baseball or football on a company-affiliated team, had not been covered, but recently some states have expanded their laws to include these accidents.
Common accidents which are covered by workers' compensation include injuries from repetitive motions, including repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), and repeated motion injuries (RMIs). Other injuries commonly covered include carpal tunnel syndrome, stress related conditions, including emotional illness and stress-related digestive problems, and other illnesses which are specific to the worker's occupation.
If an accident leads to the death of the worker the dependents are eligible to collect workers' compensation death benefits. Beneficiaries can include a spouse, child or other family member. The courts have generally ruled in favor of the worker if they are found dead in the workplace and the reason for the death is not obvious. The possibilities of suicide or murder are usually ignored by courts unless they can find specific evidence to support the cause.
Keep in mind, workers' compensation may be available for a work accident regardless of fault. Workers' compensation policies do not require the employee to prove the employer was negligent to win compensation for their injuries.